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Balboa Park or Seaport Village?

Mexico City, Mexico
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565 posts
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Balboa Park or Seaport Village?

We'll be 3-4 days in San Diego early May. It will be my husband, my kids (10 & 12), and a 74 year old grandma. This will be our second visit to San Diego (except for Grandma, it's her first), but in our first visit we dedicated ourselves to Sea World and the Zoo, and didn't get a change to really see San Diego. Now that's what I want to do, but we only have time to do either Balboa Park or Seaport, I've already seen both websites, looked at pics and reviews here, and I'm still undecided. My husband and I both love the sea and the parks. We're not planning to either shop or dine in neither of them, just walk and admire the views, maybe a coffee or an ice-cream.

My plans so far are:

Arriving Saturday - ready at noon after leaving bags at the hotel: head to Little Italy and lunch at the Mercato, look around Little Italy maybe head back to the hotel (Homewood Suites) to get the room.

Then going to either Balboa Park or Seaport Village. Dine at Bluewater Seafood (if there's a better option so we can stay at BP/SV, I can leave Bluewater for our last night).

Sunday: we want to buy tickets for the Old Town Trolley, so we can check all the attractions at least from the Trolley: we're most interested on Coronado (I want to tour the Del), Point Loma (we might take the car there after the shuttle drops us off at the hotel, or get back last day), walk in the Bayfront and dine at the Fish Market (we dined there last time but it was after dark, I'm thinking in a 6pm reservation in the outside deck to be near the water).

Monday: head to La Jolla and Torrey Pines (already have great tips from Darkbeer here), in our way to Anaheim.

Saturday: Back to San Diego. I have nothing planned this day, I think we'll do whatever we liked the most in the trolley tour.

Suggestions??

Thanks!

Anaheim, California
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1. Re: Balboa Park or Seaport Village?

IMHO, I would go with Balboa Park, larger and a lot of different types of Museums and other options.

Seaport Village is basically an Outdoor Shopping Mall with lots of Restaurants. Great location with some very nice views.

San Diego
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2. Re: Balboa Park or Seaport Village?

Seaport Village is an outdoor mall where you can also walk along the bayfront.

It is not a place to spend a whole day. IF you decided to walk farther along the bay and visit the USS Midway or the Maritime Museum with its old sailing ship and Russian submarine then that would add more time.

Balboa Park has :

small museums of all sorts including an interactive science one

gardens for roses,desert plants,orchids,

small artisan shops

outdoor entertainers

puppet shows

interesting architecture

fountain

playgrounds etc.

It is much more of a "destination" than Seaport Village.

Mexico City, Mexico
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565 posts
60 reviews
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3. Re: Balboa Park or Seaport Village?

Can we do Seaport Village in our 2nd day? We are also interested in the USS Midway, so this way we can do Balboa park on the 1st day, and just look around in Seaport before heading to dinner.

Thanks Darkbeer and RiffM, always a great help!

Anaheim, California
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25,711 posts
13 reviews
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4. Re: Balboa Park or Seaport Village?

Yes, it is a bit of a walk, but I have done it, where you can go from the San Diego Maritime Museum (north end of the walk) to the USS Midway Museum and then Seaport Village, you walk along the edge of the Bay, and there are a few minor things to see along the way. If you get tired, there are usually pedi-cabs that will help you out for a fee, plus a tip. So that makes sense, combine the Midway day with Seaport Village, and then Balboa Park on the other.

Thanks for the complement... been a busy weekend for me, Disneyland area on Friday evening, back for Saturday morning/early afternoon, then off to San Diego (Del Mar) for an evening event, and then Huntington Beach on Sunday. Thank goodness I work mainly at home, and on my own schedule. Off on a short 4 day cruise a month from now, and working on a working trip to Orlando in the near future. (part of the trip is a visit to Give Kids the World, a GREAT charity helping needy kids with very little overhead). So you can tell, let alone do I like to talk about traveling, I also lucky enough to do a lot of it.

Hope you have a great trip!!!

Mexico City, Mexico
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565 posts
60 reviews
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5. Re: Balboa Park or Seaport Village?

Thanks Darkbeer! You too have a great trip at WDW! It's a wonderful thing that you're doing, best of luck.

Mexico City, Mexico
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565 posts
60 reviews
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6. Re: Balboa Park or Seaport Village?

Another question... do you think it's a good idea to go to Bluewater after Balboa? Since it will be our first day, and we're 2 hours ahead, I don't want to push too hard at the beginning.

Anaheim, California
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25,711 posts
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7. Re: Balboa Park or Seaport Village?

FYI, I am going to Orlando, and Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure, Give Kids the World and more than likely SeaWorld, but will not step foot onto WDW property for this visit, mainly due to commitments and timing. WDW will have to be another trip (Have been in the past, but not for a few years). If I can find an extra day, I think it would be for the Kennedy Space Center, or maybe the new LEGOLAND Florida.

La Jolla, California
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8. Re: Balboa Park or Seaport Village?

"...do you think it's a good idea to go to Bluewater after Balboa?"

I don't see why not. Blue Water is a non-descript restaurant on India Street in a non-descript area. No views. No reservations since it is not a formal restaurant. You order at the counter and then find a place to sit. They are open every day until 9 p.m. except Friday and Saturday, when they close at 10 p.m.

San Diego
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for San Diego
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9. Re: Balboa Park or Seaport Village?

Elle, It is not a pretty restaurant but it is quite good and has been on that show diners and dives so lots of folks want to go there!

I don't see why you couldn't eat there any night you decide you are in the mood for a relaxed fish/seafood dinner.

I don't remember where you are staying so cannot comment on whether it is on your way back to your lodging or out of the way????

San Diego...
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10. Re: Balboa Park or Seaport Village?

I'd choose Balboa Park over Seaport Village. Yes Seaport Village is waterfront but it is next to the bay, not the ocean. Balboa Park has about 15 or so museums, including some that will appeal to children and some things that will appeal to Grandma. There are several nice gardens, all of which should be in bloom in May, and all the gardens are free except the Japanese garden, which is $4 for adults and it is very small. Yes, Seaport Village does have that carousel, but there is also a carousel (and miniature train ride) in Balboa Park near the zoo entrance.

There are also live events in Balboa Park every day. There will undoubtedly be some flower show on the weekend, the International Cottages have some kind of festival featuing one country every weekend, and every Sunday at 2 pm there is a 1-hour organ concert at the Spreckles Organ Pavilion. All of these are free. My only caution is that Balboa Park is a very crowded place these days, and you might find it necessary to park in a far parking lot, such as at Inspiration Point, and take the free park tram to the museums area. More information and a calendar of events is at http://www.balboapark.org/

One choice for a place to eat during your time in the park is the Prado restaurant, which has a large, pleasant outdoor patio with terraces on different levels. cohnrestaurants.com/menu-restaurants/…